West Africa

Polygamy Throttles Women in Senegal

Fatou (40), Awa (32) and Aissatou Gaye (24) sit in a meditative mood on the tiled floor outside their matrimonial home in Keur Massar, a township in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Agricultural Activity to Slow Clandestine Emigration from Senegal

"It was Ibrahima Sarr, a friend and fellow fisherman, who got me involved with smuggling people across the seas." Senegalese fisherman Doudou Ndoye speaks with the bittersweet conviction of a man redeemed.

Côte d’Ivoire’s Universities – Shedding a Legacy of Violence and Corruption

Yacouba Coulibaly was pursuing a doctorate in education at Cocody University in Abidjan before Côte d’Ivoire’s post-election violence started in 2010. But his classes were routinely disrupted by armed members of a powerful student federation that wished to hold meetings instead.

Filling the Granaries in Burkina Faso

The seeds were sown, and the harvest is beginning to come in. Burkina Faso farmers are reaping the benefits of their government's programme to develop and popularise improved varieties of maize.

The Gambian government, has provided farmers in 10 of the country’s most-vulnerable districts with inputs such as power tillers, tractors, rice threshers, seeders, sine hoes and bags of fertilisers. Credit: DW / Manuel Özcerkes/ CC by 2.0

“Operation No Back Way to Europe” Keeps Young Farmers at Home in Gambia

Mohamed Ceesay, a 20-year-old farmer from the Central River Region in the Gambia, is a high school dropout. But thanks to an initiative to discourage local youths from emigrating to Europe, he earns almost half the salary of a government minister from his rice harvest.

Surviving on a Meal a Day in Ghana’s Savannah Zone

In order to ensure that he and his family survive this year's failed harvest, Adams Seidu, like farmers in other rural communities in Ghana’s Northern Region, has implemented a strategy for survival. They are using what Seidu calls the "one-zero-one strategy" for children, and the "zero-zero-one strategy" for adults.

Lean Times Get Leaner in Northern Cote d’Ivoire

Salimata Coulibaly, director of a medical centre in the town of Korhogo in the northern Cote d’Ivoire region of Savanes, stood before a chart displaying before-and-after photos of local children – one taken when each child arrived at the centre, and one after he or she responded to treatment for malnutrition.

Q&A: Military Action in Mali Would Be a ‘Huge Risk’

Military action by West African states against the insurrection in northern Mali would be extremely risky without diplomatic support from neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania, according to International Crisis Group researcher Gilles Yabi.

Breakthrough for Women in Senegal’s Lower House

A record number of women were sworn in as legislators as Senegal's new parliament was inaugurated on Monday. Sixty-four women now have seats in this West African country's 150-member National Assembly, thanks to a law on gender parity.

Flags fly at half-mast in Kumasi. President John Dramani Mahama has declared one week of mourning to commemorate the death of President John Atta Mills. Credit: Portia Crowe/IPS

President’s Death Could Drive National Unity in Ghana

The death of President John Atta Mills will have a sobering effect on national politics in the months leading up to Ghana’s December 2012 election, according to the Executive Secretary of the West Africa Network for Peace, Emmanuel Bombandey.

Security Gaps Fuel Cote d’Ivoire Prison Escapes

Eliane Negui knew just what to do when she got word that a group of inmates had escaped from Abidjan’s main prison, MACA, earlier this month. After all, the 24-year-old, who has lived across a dirt road from the facility for nine years, had witnessed the same scenario just two months before. 

Burkina Faso is attempting improve education for the nomadic nomadic Peul children by forming a "School of the Shepherds". Credit: Julius Cruickshank/CC BY 2.0

In the Pursuit of Education: Burkina Faso’s School for Shepherds

Salou Bandé is proud to stand at the front of the only classroom in the village of Bénnogo, 90 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, sharing his knowledge with his students. He is part of an initiative to improve education for nomadic children in the West African country.

Super Cereal For Mali’s Malnourished Children

Millet has become the basic ingredient for an enriched flour at the heart of an effort to establish a local, sustainable response to malnutrition in Mali.

Côte d’Ivoire Law Offers Battered Women Little Protection

A shiver ran down Habiba Kanaté's* spine when she read about a policeman shooting and killing his wife in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d'Ivoire. "That could have been me," she said.

Making it Compulsory to Have Women in Ghana’s Parliament

Beatrice Boateng, a member of parliament with the New Patriotic Party, Ghana’s official opposition to the ruling New Democratic Congress, has earned her place among the country’s lawmakers.

Mauritania’s Emergency Food Programme Under Fire

The sun is beating down on Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, and Habi Amadou Tidjane Diop is a tired and frustrated woman. Seated on an empty upturned bucket, the mother of nine is waiting in a long queue to buy food.

Liberia’s Baby Blues – No Policy for Pregnant School Girls

Patricia Kollie should be at school today but instead she is at home in Gbarnga, Liberia, pounding a pile of cassava leaves in a wooden mortar. Her entire body is slightly swollen. Her dress fits a little too snug at the stomach.

Cameroon’s Baka Evicted from Forests Set Aside for Logging

As Lysette Mendum listens to the sound of bulldozers crashing through the forest clearing a road to a mining site near her small village of Assoumdele in the Ngoyla-Mintom forest block in Cameroon’s East Region, she has never been more fearful in her life.

Market Gardens Key to Autonomy for Niger Women

Four figures bend intently over their work in one corner of the large vegetable garden near the western Niger village of Dioga. Months after the village's main harvest has been brought in – and eaten up – the irrigated green of the garden is welcome relief in a part of the country where hunger never seems far away.

Liberia Looking for a Sustainable Economic Future at Rio+20

Deep in the forest in Gbarpolu County, northwest Liberia, a group of men working a surface gold mine are asked what will happen to the land when they are finished with it.

Tension Around Possible Islamic State in Northern Mali

Tuareg and Islamist rebel groups which seized control of northern Mali in March are trying to find common ground for the joint administration of the territory. Residents of the region fear that individual and collective freedoms will not be respected if such an alliance sets up an Islamic state.

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